Is The LGBTQ Community Over Sexualized in Advertising?
Below is an add created by Out2Enroll, a nonprofit group aiming to enroll LGBTQ people in healthcare using the Healthcare.gov website. Have a look see:
The add isn’t subtle. It’s half naked men decorating a Christmas tree. What this has to do with health Insurance is beyond me, but it’s certainly not the first time an ad’s content hasn’t narrowed it’s specific product or service.
The nations most public conservative Gay and lesbian community (maybe trans, but it’s only mentioned once in their “About us” section) The Log Cabin Republicans, have come out against the add, saying it plays on stereotypes within the gay community:
“This cynical ad betrays the depths Obamacare advocates will sink to in order to pad their pathetic enrollment numbers,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo declared. “As a self-proclaimed ‘fierce advocate’ of gay equality, President Obama would do well to distance himself from this nonsense and denounce it immediately. This ad is also an example of the left promoting harmful stereotypes that gay men are nothing more than sex-crazed lechers.”
To to be fair, Angelo could be going after the Obamacare angle more than anything else – he is a Republican and they are not a fan of the healthcare overhaul. But he does make a pretty harsh claim about the use of sex in the add.
The equally subtle Queerty.com responded to the LCR’s comments going as far as to call Angelo’s words slut shaming:
The LCR seems to have assumed that the act of taking off your clothes and flirting makes you an embarrassing dummy. Well, eff that. Smart people can also be sexy. (And you know, judging by the number of trekkies in the kink scene, smart people are more likely to be sexy.)
In truth, it seems to be the LCR that is perpetuating the stereotype here, not Out 2 Enroll. Colby, Brandon, Ozzie, Chris and Asia are not sex-crazed lechers. They’re not stereotypes. They’re nice people. Sexiness isn’t harmful. Slut-shaming is.
Now that we have this nice roundtable of opinions lets take a step back and breath a little. There is a lot of exposed flesh in this video. It does play heavily off the belief the gay men are easily swayed by shaking junk and dance music.
There is a trans model in the ad – Asia Vitale - and the ad does feature a women. The men used are of varying races too. So I suppose that crosses off most of the spectrum. (equality high five?)
But the ad does weigh heavy on half-naked dudes.
Oddly enough the Out2Enroll website is pretty much void of overt sexuality. It address the LGBT spectrum on issue specifics to each group as well – why trans folks should enroll, what insurance means for same-sex spouses, etc. In fact, it’s a fairly boring looking, but information-heavy website.
So is this ad exploitive? Does it portray gay men as “sex-crazed lechers?” Personally, my issue lies in the lack of acknowledgment of the rest of the spectrum, but I’m less than surprised by it.
It might be my own use of the internet as a white gay male, but every ad I see involves a shirtless guy or worse. Admittedly, I’ll click on a link if I think the fella is worth the time, so I guess I’m a victim of the stereotype, but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with it.
There in lies the very nature of ads – they appeal to some of our most basic needs and interests, and sometimes those needs and interests are something we’re not really proud of.
I haven’t gotten healthcare through the ACA yet, but I plan to. This ad, barely-clothed men included, did not sway my interest in healthcare.
So is the LGBTQ community over sexualized? Are there examples of advertising companies not cashing in on the male nipple to appeal to the LGBTQ spectrum?
I stumbled across this add for Miller Genuine Draft which still sadly plays off a shitty stereotype, the “trickster” gay, but at least it’s geared toward lesbians?
In this ad’s defense, it’s a beer ad, so I’m willing to give it a break, but maybe I’m giving this too much of a silver lining and it’s a lot more offensive than I think…
But not all hope is lost – some advertisers realize you don’t need to put gentiles at the forefront of an add in order to move product, take this ad for the Amazon Kindle:
No nipples, minimal exploitive cleavage, and a message of positive long term relationships. Now is it really that hard to create a positive image in an advertisement? If Out2Enroll had used a more mature ad to push its message would it get the attention it’s getting now? I’m not sure, but here’s to hoping we all get insured by the end of 2014.
Do you think LGBTQ focused ads rely too heavily on sex?
Are there examples on either side of this issue that you’re a fan of?
Let us know in the comments below:
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
Ahead of the December release of The Force Awakens, the half-minute long ad for their Star Wars-themed soup stars a gay coupleOctober 8, 2015
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